Prescriptions for healthy ingredients could make a world of difference in a patient’s life. Sounds like a great idea, the problem is that following through on the Rx is difficult on the patient and provider. A non-profit called Wholesome Wave has stepped up to make fresh produce prescriptions more viable.
Wholesome Wave began the Food and Vegetable Prescription Program (FVRx) in New York. The good news is they have been expanding their services countrywide through partnerships with hospitals, grocers, markets and city health departments.
The process is simple, Patients visit an FVRx clinic, where they obtain a prescription for fresh produce. The patient can visit participating farmers markets or grocery stores to redeem the prescription. The following month, patients return for an evaluation and refill if needed. FVRx can reduce some of the burden on providers all while subsidizing the produce cost. Participants are actually able to receive 2-for-1 on food stamps if they are used on produce, partly due to an FDA grant program.
In 2015, FVRx teamed up with chef Michael Voltaggio to draw attention to the costs of fresh produce in lower-income communities. Do initiatives like FVRx, signal the future of medicine? Can we expect a greater reliance on healthy food prescriptions and less reliance on prescription medications in the future?